And for those of you who need perspective, the western half of the US:
|Marry me, Chevy?|
|Why is it so hot here?|
|Ok so we could both brush up on our photography skills.|
|It’s pretending not to be 105-ish degrees when I took this one. Sneaky creek.|
|Navigating the lava rocks, clipped in (!)|
|Making it look so easy and so steezy, as always.|
After 3 hot days in Chico (and many beers and lots of food, and little sleep) we headed north to the much anticipated Ashland, Oregon. Ashland is potentially my favorite place ever. It’s nothing special to most people- it’s not Hawaii or Bali or Paris or Rome. But it’s special to us. We’ve been going there forever, I essentially fell in love with mountain biking because of this place. We have great friends there, and I only associate it with the best of times. To say I was looking forward to this part of the trip is probably the biggest understatement, ever.
Anyways, more bike pictures:
|Me going down a steep, scary chute, which here looks relatively flat and soft.|
|Cruising through the rock gardens on the appropriately named “Sketchy”.|
|Third. Or what Ricky Bobby calls, the 2nd loser. Ha.|
We spent the rest of the weekend in Ashland, before driving north to Oakridge, OR. To anybody who doesn’t ride mountain bikes and more specifically doesn’t like riding them down hill, skip this place. For the non-biker, it’s got beautiful lakes and hiking, one motel, one store, and possibly more trailers in town than teeth.
But for the all mountain riders who want to drop 15,000 feet per day of Grade A shuttle-able trails, go. Go now. Bring full wallets, but do not miss Oakridge.
We spent 2 days with our very appropriately named friend Wild Bill, who showed us all of his absolute favorite tracks. We were shuttled by Willy (who’s name also really fit) into the deepest bits of backwoods Oregon, on roads that inexplicably went for miles and miles and then out of nowhere the start to the most epic trail would just pop out. Brilliant.
|The only time we stood still in Oakridge.|
|Ok, the other time we stood still. This is while Scott was fixing his 2nd… or 3rd? flat tire.|
After Oakridge I needed a break badly, but as I mentioned in the previous post, it was not in the cards. We rode the stunning McKenzie River Trail the next day, and in the afternoon lazily made our way to Bend.
En route to Bend we came upon these massive lava fields. We’d been up in the area before for bike races, but just never taken this one specific highway a few miles west- so we were pretty surprised to happen upon this sight.
It went on and on for miles. That was one serious volcano. The view from inside the truck:
|Nearby mountains… just waiting for their turn to cause havoc.|
We spent 4 days in Bend, Oregon with friends (thank you Don & Marci!!!). My parents met us here, and we enjoyed time with family and family friends, riding bikes and celebrating the 4th of July. This whole part of the trip was a bit of a blur as I was suffering from all the riding and felt only semiconscious the whole time- and because it was full of good times and special moments. All so great and special that I couldn’t remember the camera once.
I ended up pulling out of the Bend race because of the aforementioned exhaustion (in biking we call it “bonking”. This usually happens the evening after a big ride, but for me it happened for about 72 hours after 10 big rides. The worst “bonk” ever.) I managed to get an average photo of Scott during his race run…
|I know you want to hire me for your event photography.|
Our last week was full of family and relaxation (including a night in wine country- thanks mom!) and reflection. It was a challenge to bring 32 days to a close when it felt like they passed in an instant. Leaving for the second time was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, but I have so much gratitude to our families and friends for understanding that our journey in New Zealand just hasn’t come to a finish yet.
|Last day in California, Santa Cruz|
We are two very, very lucky people.